Small Southampton businesses need to green up waste disposal practices
Companies in Southampton with fewer than 15 staff are least likely to engage in waste reduction and recycling initiatives or monitoring of their waste costs, says a new study.
The year-long research project into waste production and management for the Port of Southampton, carried out by SIEnA, included over 700 companies, which provided information on types and volumes of wastes produced, waste reduction and recycling initiatives and attitudes towards waste management.
Seven percent of Hampshire’s industrial and commercial waste is produced in the Port of Southampton, the equivalent of over three tonnes of waste per full-time employee each year. Less than 20% of this waste is currently recycled or re-used in some way.
The most common waste materials are paper, card and wood, all resources that could be recycled. Disposal of wood off-cuts used for transporting goods was revealed to be a particular problem.
Fewer than half of the participating businesses were aware that they have a duty of care regarding the waste they produce. Although while smaller businesses are performing the worst when it comes to responsible waste management, some companies were found to be employing innovative uses for their wastes, such as reusing sawdust in stables.
SIEnA Projects Manager George Padelopoulos commented that the report has shown “that there are considerable opportunities for businesses to reduce the waste they generate, thereby reducing their disposal costs and legal liability as well as reducing their impact on the environment.”
This research project was funded with Landfill Tax Credits from the RMC Environmental Fund, a grant-giving fund, which provides around £2.5 million each year to environmental and community cased projects.
Following this first project, SIEnA have been granted further funding to help deliver some of the quantifiable savings to businesses across the Solent and to achieve actual waste reductions.
SIEnA is a division of the Southampton Environment Centre (SEC), operating as a “green business club” for organisations across the Hampshire region.